You thought comics (AHEM I’m sorry graphic novels) were all about spandex super heroes and power and responsibility? Where have you been for the last twenty five years, locked in a biscuit factory? Well maybe, but that doesn’t excuse you at all. Especially with amazing books such as The Crow, Sin City and soon to appear in cinemas Allen Moore’s The Watchmen.

There is still the slight misconception that these books are for children and have no artistic merit or substance...such words angry my blood like nothing else, but I digress. These graphic novels are not for children or the faint of heart or those easily disturbed by sex, violence, mutilation, deviancy and religion or cow tipping...okay forget the cow tipping. I lied about that one.

The Boys written by Garth Ennis, acclaimed writer of Preacher, Bloody Mary and The Authority to name but a few of his creations. Also drawn as well as inked by amazing artist Darrick Robertson of Transmetropolitan, Wolverine and many others.

The Boys are a group put together by the American government to control, watch and occasionally smack down superheroes or “cunts” as they are often referred to. The superheroes are the biggest threat to the status quo and need to be monitored by Billy Butcher and his team The Boys. However all is not what it seems as these squeaky clean hero’s have a few dirty secrets. The super heroes themselves are nothing like there comic book personas. They are arrogant, violent drug addled freaks. All the superheroes featured are Garth Ennis’s own take on characters such as Batman, Superman and The X Men to mention just a few. Also for Spaced/Simon Pegg fans the main character wee Hughie is based upon him in the Spaced era.

The main target for the boys are The Seven, a group of the most powerful super heroes backed by corporation Vought American. The story begins with Hughie at the fair with his girlfriend until one of “The Seven” accidently and carelessly kills her in front of him. Hughie, devastated, is then asked by Billy butcher to join the boys and the rest you’ll have to read and find out.

Originally published by Wildstom Entertianment but dropped, although the book was cancelled due to its extreme adult nature and its anti hero tone, it was later picked up by Dynamite Comics. Not to mention The Boys take on the events of Nine-Eleven... oh yes, no cow is too sacred.

The Boys is a fantastic take on superheroes and the comic book medium with humour so dark, light can barley escape its surface. The book then catapults us into a world where heroes are villains, and everyone has their own agenda. The characters are interesting and clever, the plot is funny, even satirical at times and damn violent. If you liked Preacher or Transmetropolitan then I’m already preaching to the choir (see what I did there). There is currently three collected issues of the boys out and continues up to issue 28 in single issue. My advice is BUY IT NOW and have all your childhood illusions of superheroes smashed, and dragged kicking and screaming into your adult life.
James Ide (Random Hero)